When Does Motorcycle Season Start – Riding the ’76 Honda CJ360T isn’t as risky as the bigger bikes, but high boots and proper technique are still a good idea.
All four bikes I have in stock have trigger levers. Until recently, I had five, including a Silver Jubilee 1977 Triumph Bonneville 750.
When Does Motorcycle Season Start
Lowly Brits tried to use the fact that the Silver Jubilee didn’t even have an electric starter as a selling point, saying the bike was a “conventional manual starter” and only referring to the starting position.
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Anyone who believes that running the classic British twin is a “trait” that should be valued as a “tradition” has not tried to do it first in the spring, when it is almost all winter, sometimes sub-par. -Stays in sub-zero temperatures. In an unheated garage. It is as traditional as being beaten by the cat with nine tails.
This Bonneville had a 360-degree crank (both pistons rise and fall simultaneously), so even with a relatively mild 7.9:1 compression ratio, it needed a very strong boost to kick in. And when it does decide to throw back, it can pack a pretty punch.
I know what you’re thinking: “You should always put in new plugs or remove the plugs and heat them with a grill lighter or spray the cylinders or carbs with ether before the first run.” Been there, done that – with varying success.
The 1977 Triumph Bonneville Silver Jubilee is an amazing classic bike, but only a cold start with “conventional manual start” can test it.
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These days the only bike I have is a 1976 Honda CJ360T. All other 360 Hondas produced in this line had electric start.
Initial arm. I’ve always wondered if retaining the starter on a bike equipped with an electric starter might be some kind of tacit acceptance that maybe their electric starters aren’t that good. Or maybe the manufacturers really bought into this “conventional manual start” schtick.
On the other hand, one of my longtime riding buddies had a brand new CB360 and rode it for several years with no problems; I don’t even remember him using the starter. In fact, Ultimate Motorcycling editor-in-chief Don Williams used to own a Honda CB360, and he probably never should have used a starter if he didn’t feel like it.
Spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin. Unlike most winters in recent years, it was so cold and snowy that I didn’t move the 360 out of its spot behind the shed to periodically light it up a few times during the warmer days. No, this winter was snowy – really cold, bad with lots of snow. So the 360 basically spent the entire winter tied to a battery tender, sitting, kicking.
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All four of these older Hondas in my storage have starters, but only the CJ360 has no electric start. (L-R) 1974 CB350F, 1981 CM400A, 1973 CB500K2, 1976 CJ360T.
So when the temps finally hit the mid-forties a little while ago, it was time to warm up to 360. With a relatively small displacement and 9.3:1 compression ratio, the CJ doesn’t require much effort to get it rolling. It doesn’t back down very often either; But it comes as quite a surprise.
If an attempt is made to wear a low-top shoe without a pronounced heel to close the arm, careless technique can result in the foot slipping off the pedal and the arm kicking up and into the calf muscles. Treated lightly or not, it can still hurt, so even though I’ve been kicking it around the block for a while, I’m ready and wearing horse shoes.
Knowing that it had been sitting for so long, even with the battery tender, I thought that getting the CJ started might be more difficult than usual. I was right – big time. I figured it might have taken ten or fifteen kicks to work, not counting the three or four kicks I did with the ignition, and choke to get some oil into the valve train and top end. I can’t tell you how many hits it takes to actually burn something. I guess I didn’t really want to know. Put it this way, when I finally started, the base under my jacket was soaked with sweat, and the next day my feet hurt like I’d run the five-mile relay leg of the Paavo Nurmi marathon. Only my right leg.
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The 1974 Honda CB350F has both electric and kick start. Its four-cylinder engine is very simple, but I still use the button.
That was about two weeks ago. Now, with temperatures in roughly the same range, I took the CJ for a short ride to start the season, and as you’d expect, starting was easy as a first attempt, without as much dead time and cold weather. A short drive around town was nice, and that light, nimble little CJ is still as fun to drive as it was when I bought it new in 1976.
Now I don’t have complaints starting it or any bike. No one is forcing me. I’m just pointing out that adding electric starters to motorcycles is a very good idea. Especially in spring. But I still think they should continue to put kickstart levers on the bike even if the bike is electric. You know anyway…
In this week’s first segment, editor-in-chief Nick De Sena takes a look at the Ducati DesertX ADV bike. Powered by the same liquid-cooled V-twin motor as many other models in the Ducati lineup, the DesertX is another entry in the upper middle class of ADV machines. Of course, the big question is, can DesertX carve its own mark and stand apart from a growing field of competitors?
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The second segment is the premiere of our new “Owner Reviews” series. These are real views of the cars owned by each driver. For this first one, I’m chatting with my friend Dale Wagler. Dale is an ex-marine and hardcore road and dirt biker. Dale recently got his hands on a new BMW 1250 GS Adventure and he gave us his thoughts on the pros and a few cons of the bike.
If you would like your name to be considered for the Owner Reviews segment on a future episode of Motos & Friends, please email the manufacturer @ and provide a brief description of your bike. We’d love to hear from you! COON RAPIDS, Minn. – As the weather warms, there will be more motorcycles than ever on Minnesota’s streets.
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS), more than 238,000 motorcycles were registered in 2015, a record number for the state.
“We’re starting several in the fleet and probably adding more,” said Bill Shafer, DPS motorcycle safety coordinator.
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Last year, 61 people died in motorcycle accidents. Schaefer said there have been at least five fatal crashes so far this year.
Jeffrey “Stamnes” McClintock, 42, was involved in a motorcycle accident on Thursday and died from his injuries the next day. According to his wife, Cheryl McClintock, he bought his first motorcycle in March. Last week, she was practicing bicycling in the parking lot of her apartment complex at the Winchester Place Apartments in Coon Rapids.
Cheryl said her husband had problems with the motorcycle and during the accident the throttle cable got caught in the bike and it crashed into a parked van.
Cheryl said, “I heard sirens and other things and I knew the bike had crashed and he had passed away.”
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Although Jeffery was wearing a helmet and protective gear, Cheryl said he was not wearing them at the time of the accident.
“I just want to ask everyone to drive safe and wear a helmet so that this doesn’t happen to anyone,” he added.
Jeffrey “Stamnes” McClintock, 42, was involved in a motorcycle accident on Thursday and died from his injuries the next day. (Photo Credits: Cheryl McClintock)
The Minnesota State Patrol (MSP) responded to several motorcycle accidents over the weekend. A motorcyclist was killed in a crash during the 51st annual Spring Flood Run in southeast Minnesota on Saturday.
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“Obviously the riding season coincides with good weather. So when we get some nice warm days we start looking at bikes. It was our first good weather weekend and a great motorcycle event to coincide with that was.” Tiffany Nielsen, MSP spokeswoman.
Minnesota law does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets unless they are under the age of 18. Helmets are also required for instruction permit holders regardless of age.
Schaefer recommends that riders take one training course each year, with experienced riders taking at least one training course per pair.
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